Obama Draws Ire of Right at National Prayer Breakfast

A 13th century painting depicts Christian crusaders laying siege to the city of Damietta, Egypt, during the Seventh Crusade. Pres. Obama reminded attendees of the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday that "terrible deeds" had been committed in the name of Christ. Wikimedia Commons

Remarks by President Barack Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday comparing the barbaric actions of ISIS to those of medieval Christian crusaders have drawn ire from his critics on the right.

Speaking about ISIS, Obama said, "Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ."

He added, "In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ."

Soon afterward, on Foxnews.com, Todd Starnes cited Robert Jeffress, pastor at a Dallas mega-church, in arguing that the New Testament does not call on believers to commit acts of violence toward nonbelievers, while noting that the Koran does. Jeffress is known for once attempting to remove books about children with gay parents from a public library in Texas, and for claiming Mormonism was "a cult" when Mitt Romney, a Mormon, was running for president in 2012.

Popular conservative blogger Michelle Malkin wrote on Twitter: "ISIS chops off heads, incinerates hostages, kills gays, enslaves girls. Obama: Blame the Crusades."

Obama, meanwhile, continues to stress the difference between those who perpetrate violent acts of terrorism—he said ISIS represents not the religion of Muhammad but "a death cult"—and peaceful Muslims. It's seemingly a distinction his critics do not grasp.